| Sarah Rudeen

An Enchanting Tale: Students of STRIVE Prep – Excel Journey to Cal-Wood

Sparkling caverns, trickling waterfalls, a troll’s den, and a bear peering through a window. Does this sound like a fairy story? Settle in while I recount the tale, Dear Reader…

Once upon a time, four valiant youths left the city to seek their fortune in the mountains. They boarded a big white carriage which bore them through the hamlet of Jamestown to the mountains of Cal-Wood. There they continued up the mountain on foot to build their nylon dwellings at the base of the boulders. In celebration of their new settlement, they feasted upon grilled cheese and magic Jazz apples. Thus fortified, they followed a forest path to explore their new area.

spe-6-2_11-5-6-16_150While strolling through the deep fir wood, they discovered the bleached bones of many animals, mostly deer, but even one bear. What beast could kill a bear? As they continued down the steep, rocky path they spied a mossy, overhung cave across the river. Does a troll there dwell? Was it he who left the bones as grisly remains of his suppers? Scurrying quickly past, they came upon a magical place: a trickling waterfall leading to a crystal clear pool. The pool gave them the magic of the forest so that they drew close together, putting their arms around each other and saying, “this, this is my place in the world.”

As the day wore on, they began to burn with the quest for the riches of the mythical mica mine. With every step, the ground around them sparkled brighter, until they reached a glittering cave. Only the most daring would enter the mica mine, but to them went the rewards of discovery.

spe-6-2_11-5-6-16_97The sun fell lower in the sky, urging them back to the comforts of their tents. As they walked through the autumn dusk, a great stag appeared. Then further on, a whole herd of deer beguiled them into passing the path back to their shelters. It was only when they spied a lake, which appeared where there was no lake before, that they became aware of the enchantment. In the growing darkness, they climbed the steep rocky slope to their provisions.

Once again they feasted – a great feast of thanksgiving and burritos. Once sated, they lay on their backs under the stars watching them fall. They saw a great red-eyed raven flying across the Milky Way, his path etched by stars. Under his watchful starry eye, they told wonderful tales of great deeds of the past, until they sleepily went into their tents and curled up in their sleeping bags for a long night of blissful slumber.

spe-6-2_11-5-6-16_190Upon awakening they warmed their hands around mugs of hot cocoa and bowls of porridge. It was time to leave their forest home. And when they boarded the carriage back to the city, they discovered the paw prints of Baby Bear. The bear had peered through the windows of the big, white carriage, leaving his nose prints on the glass. Who knows? Was he asking, “Who has been eating my porridge?” The youths, back in their city homes, may never know for sure. But the siren song of the mountains will call them again, and they will rise to the quest.

– The Beginning

A special thanks goes out to all of our supporters and funders that help make our partnership with STRIVE Preparatory Schools possible this school year, including: Ladd Foundation, Larrk Foundation, and PeyBack Foundation.

Written by: STRIVE Prep – Excel CAP Instructor, Erin Angel

Want to see more photos of this epic journey? Check out our Shutterfly share site: Click Here!


Categories: Community Adventure Program, Program News, STRIVE Prep

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